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India, Afghanistan decide to resume direct flights

     New Delhi: India and Afghanistan have decided to resume their direct air services from Mach this year. After meeting the visiting Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel told reporters in the Capital that two direct flights would begin from March 31. "For the resumption of air services between India and Afghanistan, on March 31, Delhi-Kabul and Amritsar-Kabul, two direct flights will begin. Apart from that they have also sought assistance in the aviation sector from India, we will extend all possible help," Patel said. Bilateral ties between New Delhi and Kabul have been restored since the ouster of the Taliban regime in late 2001. Afghanistan had cancelled international flights to Europe and other Asian countries when the Taliban took over and sacked the airline's top management.
- Feb 24, 2005

India, France sign new air services pact (Go To Top)

     New Delhi: The Indian and French Governments signed new Air Services Agreements on February 23, in Paris, modifying the existing agreements between the two countries. According to the new agreement, both sides will have 35 flights per week into each other's country. Bangalore and Hyderabad have been designated as additional points of call to France adding to the earlier four points of call - Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai. According to a press release, the Air Traffic Agreement has been amended to provide for multiple designation of airlines. The French Government has allowed 5th Freedom Traffic Rights to India beyond France to New York and any four more points in the USA, and to Toronto and Montreal in Canada. The French government has agreed to assist Air India to get additional slots and terminals at the 'Charles-de-Gaule' Airport in Paris. The Indian delegation to France was led by Ajai Prasad, Secretary, Civil Aviation. Those present in the delegation were the Director General for Civil Aviation, Satinder Singh, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation Raghu Menon and the CMD, Air India, V. Thulasidas.
- Feb 24, 2005

India, Afghanistan sign accord on civil aviation (Go To Top)

     New Delhi: India and Afghanistan today entered into a new era of bilateral ties when they signed two accords on enhancing cooperation in civil aviation and media and information. Through this accord, New Delhi once again renewed its commitment to assist in the rebuilding of the war-ravaged country. The accord was signed in presence of the visiting Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh here. Before signing the accord, the two leaders held wide-ranging discussions on important bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual concern. The understanding on civil aviation was signed by Civil Aviation minister Praful Patel and Afghan Transport Minister Enayatullah Qasemi. It aims at building capacity and strengthening institutional structure of Afghanistan's civil aviation sector.

     The understanding will include training in areas of airport management, air traffic control, navigational aids etc, including safety and maintenance of aircraft. India has already gifted three airbus with essential spare parts to the Ariana Afghan Airlines at a cost of 13.7 million US dollars. The first two aircraft were handed over in September and December, 2002 and the third aircraft in March, 2003. Air India has also trained over 50 officials of Ariana Afghan Airlines. Hamid Karzai, the Afghan President, reached India on Wednesday on a three-day visit to India for talks with leaders to further boost the bilateral ties. The visit of the Afghan President comes close to the trip to Kabul by External Affairs Minister K Natwar Singh recently. Karzai is accompanied by a high-power delegation comprising 11 cabinet ministers, including Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah. It is expected that developments in the region covering Indo-Pak relations, the Iraq situation and other issues of mutual interest will figure during the parleys. Karzai had said in Kabul last week that that though his country received assistance from many countries, the "best assistance came from India." This is the third visit of the Afghan President to India. He is expected to seek help from India in terms of more opportunities for Afghan students, training for its diplomats and help in setting up institutions from parliament to banking to even teaching of English besides continuation of existing links. India has committed over 400 million dollars assistance to Afghanistan since 2002 and has since been helping it in areas as diverse from infrastructure to education and public health to social welfare. India has gifted 285 vehicles to the largely US-trained Afghan National Army. Another 15 ambulances are to be handed over soon.
- Feb 24, 2005

Kingfisher signs agreement for three Airbus planes (Go To Top)

     New Delhi: The UB Group on Saturday said that it has signed a contract for purchasing three Airbus A-319 aircrafts. UB Group's Kingfisher Airlines is scheduled to launch its operations in May and has already placed orders for a total of 33 aircraft from the Airbus Industrie, including ten A-320s and three A-319s. Kingfisher Airlines Chief Vijay Mallya while announcing the deal to acquire three A-319s, said that the 144-seater aircrafts would "complement the capabilities of the fleet and serve the needs of traffic on routes of Bangalore where these aircraft will be based". Kingfisher Airlines has in addition to these, also leased four brand new A-320-200 aircraft from Debis Air Finance, the leasing company of Daimler Chrysler. An airline spokesman said it would provide services and amenities, which would be "the first of its kind in the domestic aviation market in the country," including personal video screens on every seat, greatest width and more legroom and assigned seating through advance internet reservations.
- Feb 19, 2005

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